Gloating over someone’s grief ‘prohibited in Islam’

Hassan T Bwambale

Among Islam’s articles of belief is to believe in preordainment. Allah (to Whom belongs all might and majesty) had predetermined what will happen and what will not happen – among others. If someone is tested by calamity or atrocity or else, there is wisdom behind it. It is prohibited for a believer to rejoice in a misfortune that seemingly strikes anyone whom he treats as an enemy or whom he doesn’t like or whom he competes with.

Whoever rejoices in the misfortune of another what assurances does he have that a similar or worse catastrophe cannot strike him? Moreover, is he aware of Allah’s plans? Whatever you regard as calamity may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. God Almighty tells Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) thus what can be translated as: “If a blessing befalls you, it grieves them (ie your enemies), but if a calamity strikes you, they say: ‘We took our precautions beforehand’ and they turn away rejoicing.

Tell them that nothing will befall us except what Allah has decreed for us. For He is our guardian and protector and on Him let the believers rely.” (At-Tawbah 9: 50 – 51) Among the things that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to seek refuge with Allah (the Almighty) from – was his enemies rejoicing in his predicament. Abu Huraira (RA) narrated thus: “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) used to seek refuge with Allah from the difficult moment of a severe calamity, from being overwhelmed by destruction, from being destined to an evil end, and from the malicious joy of enemies; rejoicing in his predicament.” (Al-Bukhari # 6, 616)

You might rejoice in a person’s calamity and then God Almighty (Allah) responds by bestowing mercy on him. Wa’thila bin Al-Asqa’a (Prophet Muhammad’s bona-fide companion) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Do not rejoice at your brother’s misfortune lest Allah bestows mercy and him afflicts you with a calamity.” Al-Mun’dhirey graded it as Hasan (authentic) in Saheeh At-Targheeb 3/310).

We deduce from the above prophetic narration that gloating over someone’s grief, may result in being afflicted with a similar or worse calamity. Let God Almighty deal with His servants whom He created because He is their creator and knows more about them than anyone else.

Only Allah can judge His servants: If anyone, especially the one you dislike, gets afflicted with a calamity, do not conclude that it’s because of his sins. Who gave you the moral authority to judge others? Jundub bin Abdillah narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) informed his companions about a man who quarreled with his friend, turned adversary, saying, ‘I swear by Allah that He will not forgive so – and – so!’ God Almighty responded thus: “Who is He that thinks he can control Me; claiming that I won’t forgive so – and – so? For, I have, indeed, forgiven him and rendered your deeds null and void.” (Saheeh Muslim # 2, 621)

Even if someone rejoices in your calamity, do not retaliate by doing the same when he suffers; ‘two wrongs cannot make a right.’ Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised thus Ja’ber bin Saleem in a long prophetic narration: “… and if a person insults and humiliates you, do not retaliate in the same manner, because he will bear the evil consequences of that.” (Al-Albani rated it authentic in Saheeh At-Tirmidhi # 2, 722).

Therefore, if anyone rejoices at your misfortune, leave it up to God Almighty to deal with him. Finally, in as much as we yearn for God’s forgiveness, especially during this auspicious month of Ramadan, let us learn to forgive and forget. “If you forgive someone for something they did to you, it doesn’t mean you agree with what they did or believe it was right. Forgiving that person means you have chosen not to dwell on the matter anymore; you have moved on with your life.”

Courtesy of the TIES Center: the TIES Center aims at empower Kuwait’s expats through social and educational services that promote a positive and productive role in society, and to facilitate opportunities for intra- and interfaith interactions that promote social solidarity. For more information, you can contact TIES at Tel: 25231015/6; Hotline: 94079777; e-mail: info@tiescenter.net.

By Hassan T Bwambale